Posts Tagged ‘HB2’

More NC HB-2 Discussion – Two Business Perspectives

TBJ Editor Sougata Mukherjee (right) interviewing American City Business Journals CEO Whit Shaw at the Feb. 23 Power Breakfast (photo courtesy of the Triangle Business Journal)

As a quick refresher, North Carolina’s HB2 law, passed last spring, dictated that transgender people must use the restroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate in public facilities, and that municipalities may not pass legislation protecting its citizens from discrimination beyond that already described at the state level. The result has been a huge departure of convention, sporting and entertainment events, as well as potential major business expansion, from the state. See links to my previous blogs about HB2 at the bottom.

The discussion continues to drag on and on, and now the proponents of HB-2 are further emboldened by President Trump’s administration’s recent roll back of federal protections for transgender students. (link to news article)

I now continue this discussion by adding the two different business perspectives: from a senior executive in his mid-60’s speaking to a group of local business leaders, and from a recent college graduate.

From the senior executive: On February 23, I attended the quarterly Triangle Business Journal Power Breakfast with other Triangle area business leaders. The speaker was Whit Shaw, CEO of American City Business Journals, which distributes 43 different business publications across major US cities. To kick off the Q&A portion of the session, Triangle Business Journal editor Sougata Mukherjee asked Mr. Shaw for his perspective on HB2.

“I can flat out tell you that it has changed the conversation about North Carolina,” he said, recounting conversations with executives across the country. “It has distracted us from the conversations that we should be having, namely, how are we going to keep growing? How are we going to provide good jobs for the people in this state? How are we going to get things done?” (Quote from TBJ article about the event, link to the full TBJ story)

Mr. Shaw did comment that the North Carolina economy is clearly losing significant amounts of revenue, including opportunities that we did not even know we were in the running for. He stated that we are continually spending time and money on this issue and thus losing sight of the real conversations we need to have that will determine our state’s future.

From a recent college graduate: My 24-year old very straight but definitely not narrow cousin Brandon just graduated with his Sociology degree from NC State while working full time. He enjoys discussing current events with me.

On the same day I attended the TBJ Power Breakfast, Brandon and I had this text conversation:

Blog author Stan Kimer with his cousin Brandon at his recent graduation from NC State. As a young millennial, Brandon understands the business impact of discriminatory laws.

BRANDON: “How horrible is this strip of protection by the Trump administration. So transgender students have no protection over the bathroom they can use now?”

ME: “It is now a big mess and is in limbo since it will now be state by state and by school district, plus there are still open court cases.”

BRANDON: “So pretty much all transgender people are going to migrate to the liberal states where they feel protected like New York, Colorado and California?”

ME: “That certainly could happen, especially with the talented ones who have the resources to move.”

BRANDON: “Yeah, it’s horrible”

Yes, an older senior executive gets it. Yes, a recent college graduate gets it. HB2 is a huge negative impact on our economy in terms revenue and workforce talent. Too bad our politicians don’t get it.

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My earlier blogs on HB2:

Five Impacts of North Carolina’s Infamous HB2

On entertainer Cyndi Lauper’s alternative approach to boycotting NC over HB2

On the politics of division and hate that led to HB2.

Yes! Virginia is for all lovers (and all employees and businesses)

Virginia is for loversTagline: North Carolina needs to take a few lessons from our neighbor Virginia. See also several additional pertinent links at the bottom of the article

As a diversity consultant and an out gay man in North Carolina, one state south of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I and others would often scoff at Virginia’s tourism slogan “Virginia is for Lovers.” Some of us would create amended signs that read “Virginia is for SOME Lovers” since Virginia was one of those Southern States that long had a state constitutional amendment outlawing same-gender couples.

But now, with the latest executive order on January 5th signed by Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia has progressed into a shining star of equality and fair play for all its citizens. Now let me tell you this story and provide the additional details.

The past: Yes, Virginia was one of the southern states that quite early in the “marriage equality” movement prohibited the recognition of same-gender marriages. Of course that was completed voided by the June, 2015 Supreme Court ruling that provided for same gender marriage recognition and availability across all fifty states.

The present: But then early this year, Virginia surpassed her southern neighbors with Governor McAuliffe signing state executive order Number 61 on January 5th. It directs all Executive Branch entities to include in their procurement contracts valued over $10,000 a prohibition on discrimination by the contractor in its employment practices, subcontracting practices, and delivery of goods or services, on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, disability, or veteran status. Executive Branch entities must also require that the contractor will include the same nondiscrimination requirements in every subcontract, vendor contract, or state procurement contract.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

In signing this, his first executive order as a the new Governor, Mr. McAuliffe stated, “As my first act as Governor, I signed Executive Order 1 to ban discrimination in the state workforce based on sexual orientation, take divisive social issue battles off the table and help build an open and welcoming economy. Starting today, the Commonwealth of Virginia will not do business with entities that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Virginia is home to the best state workforce in the country and this policy will ensure there is no question that all Virginians are to receive the full benefits of their citizenship, without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

As a diversity and inclusion consultant with a very deep expertise in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) diversity, I stand excited and ready to assist any company doing business with the commonwealth of Virginia with the consulting services and training to fully comply with the order as well as building the corporate culture to assure true execution.

The future: Being here in North Carolina, where last year our out-of-touch legislature passed our hateful and economically harmful state anti-LGBT legislation known as HB-2, I encourage our new governor Roy Cooper to follow suit with Virginia and issue our own similar order for our state’s executive branch contractors.
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Useful and interesting links:
The complete text of Virginia Executive Order 61

An interesting history of Virginia’s “Virginia is for Lovers” tourism slogan.

President Obama’s similar executive order for LGBT protections at the federal level.

My blog about the harmful impacts of North Carolina’s HB2.

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